Thomas Campbell’s “Declaration and Address” was written in 1809. This is one of the founding documents of the Restoration Movement, written for the purpose of calling people away from division and sectarianism to join in a common communion, a single church of Christ.
To celebrate the event, many churches are planning to host communion celebrations in their hometowns, inviting all churches with a Restoration Movement heritage to join together for just one Sunday to celebrate the unity the Movement was founded to establish.
Five years ago, members of the Stone-Campbell Dialogue and the board of the Disciples of Christ Historical Society began discussing ways to commemorate the bicentennial of the Declaration and Address. Under the leadership of the Historical Society, 20 leaders from the North American streams of the movement formed a “2009 Task Force.”
The group created a plan to call for a Great Communion service — this time in thousands of places around the world, on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2009. In preparation for the 2009 Great Communion, the Task Force edited a book titled “One Church” that brings Thomas Campbell’s principles in the Declaration and Address into the 21st century. The group also created a Web site with resources on how to organize a Great Communion service in your location.
Consider what makes Christians one. It is not intellectual uniformity. It is the grace of God embodied in the sacrifice of Christ. In 2009 we have an opportunity to honor in a small, but important, way the dying prayer of Jesus for the oneness of his followers and to reclaim the unity impulse that formed this movement. Begin now to plan for what Thomas Campbell called “that great ordinance of unity and love.”
The Christian Standard reports on the plan in this article.
And so, is anyone aware of a plan to do this in their community? Are the Restoration Movement churches in fact going to take a day and remember their founding principles? I wonder.
I’d love to see it happen. I’d love to think that for one day we could lay aside our disputes and worship God together, sharing the communion that symbolizes our unity. Indeed, it would be truly tragic if we couldn’t.
And so, does anyone know of a community planning to do this?